Parent Update – SQA Exams and Deputy First Minister Statement – 8 October 2020

Friday 9th October 2020

Dear Parent / Carer

Announcement

 

The Depute First Minister, John Swinney, yesterday made an announcement on National 5, Higher, Advanced Higher and SQA.  The full statements from Mr Swinney and SQA can be read at:

 

https://news.gov.scot/news/sqa-awards-2021

https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/35832.html

 

National 5 candidates will not have exams.  They will be accredited through internal work and teacher professional judgement.  Higher and Advanced Higher exams are still taking place and due to start on 13th May 2020.  National 3, National 4, Wider Achievements, National Progression awards etc…continue to be internally assessed with no exams.

 

Penicuik High School Assessment and Moderation Processes

 

Moderation and our own internal verification measures are based on best practice. Subject Departments and teaching staff utilise as wide a range of evidence as possible and are rigorous in ensuring ensure that assessment items are valid, reliable and proportionate and produce accurate grades guidance for each course and level. Moderation by subject areas includes; cross-marking, moderating and benchmarking with other schools and a focus on checking SQA’s ‘understanding standards’ guidance to verify the standards are set correctly. Staff will also use their knowledge of individual pupils, professional input from SQA markers and appointees on our staff and prior attainment & achievement data for cohorts. Additional work will be undertaken to ensure that the school takes due regard of further advice and professional training offered by SQA to support schools and there will be a renewed emphasis in the Authority on schools supporting working together to align standards for more accurate estimation of grades.

 

Digital Developments

 

We now have the authority to use Google Meet to cast live lessons or study support.  We have not been allowed to use that up until now and that is why Penicuik High School have not used this or other platforms.  However, we know Staff, students and parents/carers are keen to see the use of this type of ‘anytime, anywhere’ learning.  Staff will start piloting Google Meet sometime after the October break and sharing this with each other before a larger scale roll out. We have recently sent out a further 98 Chromebooks ad have requested further devices. We will shortly seek information from families who need multiple devices due to school aged children in the home who require a device.

 

Supporting Study for Our Students

 

We will continue to offer both formal and informal opportunities for supported study in subject areas across the session. Many of these are held in school time or after school. Tracking information will be used to inform subject areas about students who may need extra support and in school interventions. In line with current developments there will continue to be an increase in digital approaches to supporting learning in and out of school as mentioned above

 

Prelims and Assessments

 

As in previous years, assessment will be on-going throughout the Session. Prelim or other formal assessment for N5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses will take place from December through to April. Various class and other assessments will take place under controlled conditions as appropriate, and may also take place in the Assembly Hall for additional exam practice. All assessments undertaken will be to ensure that the best interests of students are fully supported but we will also take cognisance of the assessment load on students throughout the session

If you would like to discuss SQA, exams, prelims and any in school arrangements at any time please make contact Mr Ross Jamieson – DHT Learner Experience and SQA Coordinator.

 

Thank you again for your support in a time where we look to support our Senior Phase pupils fully in preparation for their resulting courses.

 

 

 

Craig Biddick

8 October 2020

 

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